How to Answer Common Interview Questions
Job interviews can be scary, but one way you can calm your nerves and have a better chance to impress the interviewer is by preparing.
We have created a guide on answering some commonly asked interview questions. First impressions are formed within minutes, so making your first impression count is crucial!
Tell Me About Yourself?
This is often the first question asked at every job interview. It's a golden opportunity to showcase why you are the perfect candidate. Include your most relevant experience, transferable skills, and key achievements in your answer.
Avoid the following in your answer:
- Sharing your entire career history
- Venting about your previous workplace
- Pointing out negatives in your last workplace to avoid red flags.
Try crafting your response using the Present, Past, and Future concepts.
Present: Talk about your current role or situation.
Past: Discuss your previous role or experience, focusing on what's relevant to the position you're applying for.
Future: Share your career goals and why this role would help you achieve them.
Using this formula allows you to share who you are, why you're qualified for the role, and what interests you about the company and the position. You can mention what you enjoy doing outside of work, but be mindful of what you include!
"I have worked as a Marketing Specialist at ABC Company for over five years. I was responsible for creating impactful campaigns that connect brands with their target demographics. Over the years, I have worked with established companies and startups, allowing me to develop a diverse skill set. I want to leverage my skills and expertise to take on new challenges and move into a managerial position. When I am not working, I enjoy spending my time near the ocean either kayaking or taking my dog for a walk along the beach."
What Attracted You to Apply for This Role?
First, ensure you understand the position and its responsibilities by reviewing the job description before attending the interview. A better understanding will help you communicate your motivation and qualifications for the role. You can research the company and take note of what captures your attention.
"I was drawn to this opportunity because of your company's reputation for innovative marketing strategies and its commitment to delivering impactful campaigns, which truly resonates with me. My proficiency in crafting comprehensive marketing strategies, navigating diverse digital platforms and collaborating within a team would perfectly complement your business's efforts to drive results. This opportunity offers a fresh challenge that I can grow in."
Why Do You Want to Work Here?
Expect a variation of this interview question in every interview process. Such as "Why do you want to work for us?" "What made you want to apply for a job within this company?" "Why are you interested in our role?".
The main point of this question is for the interviewer to uncover your motivations behind seeking employment in the specific role you have pursued and your reasons for choosing their company.
Hiring managers seek to assess your familiarity with the business, the position's responsibilities, values, and professional aspirations. Conduct thorough research on the company, including its social media presence, values, and mission statement.
"Exploring your company's social media presence, it's evident that you are committed to employee growth and development. I am impressed that X company has an excellent reputation for investing in your employees' professional careers. The opportunity to upskill with mentorship programs aligns with my goals of expanding my leadership skillset within a marketing setting."
What Are Your Strengths?
Consider the skills you can contribute to the position when addressing this question. It's essential to be well-prepared by thoroughly reviewing the job description and aligning your response with their specific requirements. Incorporate a diverse range of skills to avoid listing similar ones.
Approach this question by engaging in self-assessment. Create a list of crucial skills corresponding to the role's description. Refine the list of four primary skills that you can speak about. Provide detailed examples of how you've used each strength and how it will be advantageous in the position you are interviewing for.
"One of my key strengths is strategic thinking. I excel at analysing market trends and consumer behaviour to develop innovative marketing strategies. For instance, I identified a gap in our social media engagement in my previous role at ABC Company. I devised a new content calendar that increased our engagement rate by 30% within three months."
What Are Your Weaknesses?
When interviewers ask this question, they aim to gauge your self-awareness and openness to growth. It's important to highlight the actions you're taking for self-improvement. While revealing your weaknesses to unfamiliar individuals might seem daunting, honesty and authenticity are key when addressing your areas of improvement. Avoid using responses such as, "I care too much" and "I am a workaholic".
"One area I've been working to improve is my public speaking skills. While I'm comfortable communicating and presenting in smaller team settings, addressing larger audiences is an area where I initially faced challenges.
To address this, I enrolled in a public speaking course last year. The study focused on techniques to manage nerves, engage the audience, and deliver clear messages."
How Do You Deal With Stress?
Avoid responding with "I don't get stressed," as stress is a normal human response. It's perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that you encounter stress occasionally.
The most effective approach to address this question involves using the STAR response technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result). This method facilitates a structured and specific answer demonstrating your ability to manage stress effectively in a professional setting.
How to create a structured response:
Situation: Describe the context or situation where you encountered a stressful scenario in your previous role.
Task: Explain the job or challenge you faced that contributed to the stress.
Action: Detail your specific steps to manage the stress and address the challenge.
Result: Share the positive outcome of your actions, showing how your stress management skills led to a successful resolution.
Here's an example of how you could structure your response:
"In my previous role as a Marketing Specialist at ABC Company, we had the task of launching a campaign for a major client with a tight deadline. The client had requested significant changes to the campaign concept, which required us to move quickly and create new assets."
"The challenge was managing the sudden changes while ensuring we delivered the campaign quality, meeting the deadline, and keeping the team motivated despite the increased workload."
"To manage the stress and tackle the situation effectively, I took the following steps: I prioritised by immediately gathering the team to discuss the revised requirements and set clear priorities. We identified the most critical tasks that needed immediate attention to meet the client's expectations.
I delegated tasks based on team members' strengths and expertise. I maintained open and transparent communication with the team, providing regular updates on our progress, addressing any concerns and acknowledging their hard work. I encouraged the team to take short breaks and offered support to manage their workload effectively.
As a result, we successfully met the client's requirements and launched the campaign on time."
Using the STAR technique allows you to provide a comprehensive response that showcases your ability to manage stress and your problem-solving skills, teamwork, and adaptability.
Do You Have Any Questions For Me?
As your interview ends, the interviewer will invite you to inquire if you have any questions for them. Don't respond with a "no". You want to demonstrate your genuine interest in the company and the position.
Here are potential questions you might consider asking:
- Please provide insight into the typical day-to-day responsibilities associated with this role.
- What aspects of working within the company do you personally find most rewarding?
- Could you share more insights into the company's cultural environment and values?
- What challenges or opportunities does the team face, and how does the team address them?
Asking insightful questions can leave a lasting impression on your interviewers and help them understand the company's culture, expectations, and role. Choose questions that resonate with you and the information you've gathered during the interview.
Job interviews can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. However, with this guide, you now have the tools to prepare for these scenarios to make connections and impactful communications genially. Approach each question authentically, and let your responses reflect your true self. With this guide, you're not just navigating interviews but confidently shaping your future.
Good luck on your interview journey!